July 17 to September 11, 1974

This is about how the Federal Government and the US Navy took away the right of the Bremerton Metal Trades Council (BMTC) to use attorneys (Lee Holley) to represent the workers of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.  The BMTC union setup a workers' compensation clinic and shop steward training program with the aid of attorneys.  For the first time, injured workers had effective representation with their claims for lost work and medical treatment.  Under the ruse of national security, future use of attorneys by labor unions to represent their workers, especially injured workers, was denied. Click here for affidavits of some of these workers..

Lee Holley's training material - reproduced from copies of training material and handouts I received while attending these shop steward training sessions.

My opinion and comments

Sadly the outcome was negative. The Navy denied his access to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. There was a covert campaign by management to weaken and divide the union and rid them of Lee Holley's powerful legal council. The BMTC was even forced or intimidated??? to sign a memorandum of understanding that denied any future legal council during formal training, grievance investigations,  procedures and so forth.  Ever since then, no more attorneys... only union stewards were allowed to represent employees .

In my opinion, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard attacked Lee Holley's character because of his successful representation of employees. They obviously didn't like the content of his of shop steward lunch time training sessions. To me, the shipyards actions  were a travesty of justice and fairness to all workers. Lee Holley's work is what John Kennedy wrote about in Profiles in Courage

Lee was one of the first attorneys to process asbestos caused disease claims under both workers' compensation and third party litigation under the Law firm of Schroeter Goldmark & Bender. After the Navy Yard rescinded the unions  access to his counsel, he went back to private practice and teaching law.  I took one of his courses at Olympic College. He was always brilliant and inspiring.

I welcome your comments and suggestions.
Bob Farmer -
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Last updated on 01/14/10